You’d be hard pressed to find a home or office kitchen that didn’t have a coffee plunger. The classic glass press is our go-to for making a decent brew at work, but this multitasking marvel isn’t just for caffeinated drinks.
Make a broth
Up the ante on your midweek lunch game by using your coffee plunger to make an aromatic broth. Add slices of ginger, lemongrass, garlic and coriander stems to the plunger, pour over boiling water, then leave to steep for 5-8 minutes. Push down to extract all the flavour, then pour over a bowl of cooked noodles, shredded chicken, baby spinach leaves and thinly sliced snow peas. The heat from the broth will gently cook the greens. Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onion and you’ll be the envy of your office.
Who would’ve thought you could get the full café experience from your at-home plunger? To make a creamy froth for your freshly plunged coffee, add warm milk to your plunger, then pump up and down for around 30 seconds for barista-style froth.
Make a mess-free salad dressing
Ever tried to whisk together a salad dressing in a bowl, only to have most of the ingredients end up on the bench? Or worse, the oil and vinegar refuse to play nice and never quite emulsify? Yep, we hear you. For a mess-free, creamy salad dressing in no time, add oil, vinegar and seasoning to your coffee plunger, then pump the strainer until combined and creamy. Try it with this Greek lamb salad recipe.
We all know we should rinse our grains before cooking, but how frustrating is it to watch those little grains of rice or quinoa slip down the sink? Enter the French press. Pop your quinoa in the plunger, top with water, then plunge a few times and pour off the liquid. Repeat until the water runs clear, then use to make one of these cracking quinoa dishes or rice recipes.
If you’ve got a bunch of herbs that’s seen better days, give it a second lease on life by making an infused oil. Pop the herbs (or chopped chillies or garlic cloves) in the coffee plunger, then top with heated olive oil. Allow to infuse for 10-20 minutes, then strain into a glass jar or bottle. Use the flavoured oil to add instant pep to salad dressings, pastas and soups.
Pour a cocktail
Start your weekend right by whipping out the plunger for Friday evening drinks. Our Negroni cocktail batch recipe is sure to get the party started, or try these wicked vanilla martinis – simply add all ingredients, except ice, to the coffee plunger, plunge a few times to mingle everything together, then pour over ice.
Now, we haven’t tested this theory ourselves, but Lifehacker reckons you can whip cream in your coffee plunger. You won’t get the same stiff peaks as an electric whisk, but you will get some soft folds of cream to layer on desserts, like these banoffee sundaes or cherry and lemon tart.
Melbourne-based food and wine writer Sarah Gamboni has had to pull back on a few of her favourite things – chilli, gin and espresso – since bringing her daughter, Frankie, into the world. But she has discovered one post-natal perk: those stretchy-waist maternity jeans are heaven when heading out for a big meal. Follow her on Instagram @eatmywords_au